We asked her why does she push herself to such extremes.
“When I push and go outside my comfort zone – yes! it is intimidating. I feel tingling and go numb, but then I think – this is new to me, but I am not the first one to do this and there are controlled safety measures in place.
So I continue swimming.
When I swam the 225-meter event in Tyumen [Russia], that was the coldest I have ever been 32ºF/ºC for 5 minutes 24 seconds … that was the first time that I went into the recovery sauna tents and experienced their controlled gradual re-warming process.
Now I know, the post-swim recovery is a very important part of the swim. I am ready for the next swim. Knowing this, I would like to try the 450-meter distance.
Like any activity when you go past your known limits, there may be a level of discomfort, but that is how you get better. Whether it is swimming, running, biking, or any activity, if you do the same routine pace every time, you do not improve.
Winter swimming is much more mental. It takes focus and concentration … that is one of the reasons I like it. And I do like the traveling and the international family of cold water swimmers. Our common bond is the cold water and we share our experiences and learn from each other.
But I need to caution people: it takes time to acclimatize to the cold. At least one year … I tell people if you want to do this, basically do not stop swimming at the end of the warm summer months. Keep swimming into the fall – in September, October, November, December, etc. as the water gets colder. Spend less time in the water, you will discover your limits and tolerance to the cold …
The majority of swimmers find a cold swim refreshing.”
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